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The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has said it will continue with the disciplinary action against players at the centre of the controversy surrounding pay and contractual matters. The action had been suspended during negotiations between the board and the players but those talks broke down last week.
Leading players including Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan are all part of the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), which is currently locked in a battle with the board over annual retainer contracts. The West Indies players have not signed those contracts since October 2008; WIPA has claimed that the players have played four tournaments in a row this year without the contracts while the WICB says the demands of the players are unjust.
In a separate statement, indicative of the widening gulf between the two parties, WIPA also agreed that a number of proposals, including the involvement of the Caribbean Court of Justice, were no longer applicable following the breakdown in talks.
The board's statement said it decided to resume disciplinary action against all West Indies players who had committed breaches of its Code of Conduct during the England tour, Indian tour and the Bangladesh tour earlier this year, by referring these matters to its disciplinary committee.
It did not itemise all of the breaches of its code but the Jamaica Gleaner said the players were likely to be asked to respond to well-publicised charges from the three series.
Against England, the players blocked the logo of the team's sponsor during the first one-day international in Guyana, where they also failed to attend a cocktail reception hosted by the same sponsors. The players also failed to show for the official launch of next year's Twenty20 World Cup to be staged in the Caribbean during India's visit.
Matters were brought to a head in July this year with 13 of the leading West Indies players making themselves unavailable for the first Test against Bangladesh in St Vincent, citing pay and contract issues. The WICB was forced to field a weakened squad which resulted in Bangladesh sweeping both the Test and one-day series.
Mediation efforts between the WICB and WIPA also collapsed recently, with the mediator, former Commonwealth secretary general Shridath Ramphal, claiming that one "party" had introduced a document late in the negotiations that led to their stalling.
The board also came in for criticism from Bharrat Jagdeo, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) chairman and Guyana president, alleging that the board prejudiced the efforts to broker peace from the start.
However, the WICB denied the claims. "Disciplinary action against offending players had been initiated prior to the commencement of mediation and had been suspended in favor of a settlement through mediation," the board said. "The WICB had as part of its compromise in the mediation effort offered to withdraw all disciplinary action against the players. With the failure of mediation the next step would have been the settlement of all matters through arbitration which, the WICB will be pursuing immediately."